N&M: Eddie, can you tell us something about your holistic approach to sustainable agriculture?
Eddie: For me organic agriculture is farming in harmony with Nature, whereby we grow products for human development without having a negative impact on the environment. Furthermore, I believe that organic production cannot exclude the people involved in it. The whole workforce should share in the benefits of the farming cooperation. Sustainable agriculture should also result in a sustainable enterprise. Such an enterprise is never built around one individual but always around the collective group.
N&M: Can you tell us something about the environmental issues in this part of Africa?
Eddie: Some of the biggest environmental problems South Africa has to face, are lack of fertile land, soil degradation, and pollution of its rivers and groundwater. One of the main factors causing these problems is the excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pest and disease control agents. As a country we need to move away from our dependence on chemicals and move much more towards a natural manner of feeding the soil and subsequently our crops. The solution is high quality organic compost.
N&M: Apart from growing amazing grapes you are also running a successful compost business (Reliance), can you tell us something about this adventure?
Eddie: Our business is situated in the heart of the beautiful Cape Boland region and it is there that Reliance produces certified organic compost. Approximately 30,000 m3 of chipped green garden refuse is collected monthly on 10 conveniently placed drop-off facilities and landfills around the City of Cape Town. This green waste is not only the main input for out compost but by using it we are helping to solve a serious environmental issue. We have kept over 10,000,000 m3 of green garden refuse out of already overcrowded landfills since contracting with the city more than a decade ago. This resulted in reducing over 500 000 tons of carbon dioxide gas escaping into the atmosphere, thus mitigating the impacts caused by climate change.
Our composting technology has been approved by Credible Carbon as a greenhouse gas emission reduction method.